Blind Spot: The exaggerated risks of and solutions to mass shooting

Whenever there’s a high-profile mass shooting, there is no shortage of people demanding that we “do something.” While these demands are well-intentioned, they’re also equally ill-informed and ill-conceived. One of the immediate problems comes in the risk assessment. If you are overestimating the likelihood or severity of a given scenario, the prescribed solution is almost guaranteed to be a gross overreaction. FiveThirtyEight has done a great job at breaking down the numbers on this. Their conclusion? However mass shootings are defined, the deaths they cause represent a small proportion of…

Utah’s Corrections Conundrum: Finding Better Solutions

During interim session in our Judiciary Committee, we heard a compelling presentation from the Pew Charitable Trusts regarding the state of Utah’s corrections system.  We discussed how non-violent offenders (typically drug or property crimes) were receiving ever longer prison sentences for their crimes. While on the face of it, it seems to make sense that people should pay for their crimes. Yet, at the same time, the corrections system itself is having the effect of making personal reform harder on those that are incarcerated.  Prison may lock up drug users, but…